£288,000 government, and the policies that they put

£288,000 to £220,000to £225,965. These
are the average prices of UK homes across the years of 20151, 20162 and 20173. These price fluctuations
are a clear representation of a portion of the UK’s housing crisis, because
housing prices are a multifactorial topic, and can be affected by many things.
Some examples are:

Family size

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Population density

Housing region

Interest rates

Minimum wage

Governmental policies

These fluctuating costs also affect
the sustainability of UK housing. Some people feel that some housing is “too
expensive” or that the quality of the housing “isn’t satisfactory”. These
varying costs and uncertain sustainability is assumed, by some people, to be
the fault of the UK government, and the policies that they put into place.
Although the population are reluctant to admit it they are also a factor that
leads to

As a result my question is: How has
the affordability and sustainability of UK housing been affected by the UK and its
Government, from 2015 to the present day?


Firstly, to make the question more accessible for people who
are not clear on certain terminology in the question (E.G. sustainable or
affordability), I will define these terms. Sustainability is the ability to
maintain a certain economic, environmental, social, and political level at a
constant rate, without harming the current generations as well as not
compromising the needs of future generations. Affordability is whether
something can be paid for, so in this case the “something” that needs to be
affordable is UK housing.


Now that any ambiguous terms has
been addressed, as I have stated prior the key time frame focus of my argument
is 2015 to the present day. This time frame was selected specifically by me as
it allows me to analyse a scope of three years, where I can compare each of
them to the other, and explore the progression or regression over time.
Furthermore, these years witnessed a change in governmental power, where in 2015-2016
the UK parliament was run by David Cameron. Then 2016, the year the UK held the
referendum to see whether they remain in the Europe Union, and the majority of
the population felt that we (as a country) should depart from the European
Union. This led to David Cameron stepping down as Prime Minister, and being
replaced by Theresa May. Now as 2017 is coming to an end this will be the end
of Theresa May’s first 16 months in power. All of these changes in governmental
power have led to various UK policy changes as well as the depreciation of the
UK’s currency: The pound coin (£).1 GBP (Great British Pound), in 2015, was
equivalent 1.5129 USD (United States Dollar)4. However
in 2017 1GBP is equal to 1.35USD5.

I plan to respond to this title by separately analysing the
sustainability and economic costs of UK housing for each of the three years.
Within the analysis I will also display multiple facts and statistics relating
to either the government (like certain policies that are in place at the time),
or about the UK’s population itself. Exploring these themes across each of the
individual years, will allow me come to a conclusion me to whether who has had
a more significant impact on the state of UK housing.


How I came to the conclusion, for selecting my topic, is that initially
I made a mind map listing all possible question topics that peaked my interest,
and were relevant to the subjects I have studied or that I am currently doing.
These topics varied from sports (which came from my sporting and biological
interests) to housing, which would allow me to use my mathematical skills from
statistics, and my prior geographical knowledge of the economy and
sustainability. An example of one of the initial sports questions I first
thought of was “What is the effects of participating in 21st century
sport on your health and general wellbeing?”, 
however I dismissed this topic and themes circulating it, because topics
surrounding sport tend to only require certain facts and statistics to be
presented to answer the question. Therefore these questions are not very
debatable, meaning I would struggle to write 5000 word for it. As a result, I
decided the more debatable of the 2 topics that intrigued me, which is housing.
Now when I was coming up with my question I had a few different ideas which I could
explore. Initially I thought a reasonable question would be: Will UK social
housing ever become more affordable? However this questioned limited me to only
talk about the affordability and social housing, which I realised would be very
tough to right 5000 words about , therefore I developed my question into: Will
UK housing ever become more sustainable and affordable? Whilst knowing I could
write more words on this title I decided to add a time frame focus to my question
(2015 to the present day) which would just ensure that I comfortably reach 5000




This year was the first year that David Cameron (independently) became
the UK’s Prime Minister. Whilst in office, this year, he had set and revived policies
that had impacted the state of UK housing. An example of these policies was one
that circulated around the greenbelt of the UK. This policy stated that there
will be no construction on the UK’s greenbelt for a further five years6.  When this policy was put in place (in the
month of May) the average, mix adjusted, house price was £274,0007. A
policy that was revived was the Right to Buy policy. This Policy states that
anyone earning minimum wage will not have to pay tax. But as the year came to
an end the average, mixed adjusted, house price was £288,000 (1st
citations). These policies clearly indicate that the government had a role
significant role to play in the £14,000 increase across the final seven months
of the year, thus worsening the UK house price affordability. As the
affordability is worsening, a direct link has been made to the sustainability
of housing in the UK. From an economic stand point alone, this is economically
unsustainable, as those who have a lower standard of living with struggle to
purchase a suitable dwelling to reside in, which in turn will result in them
having a lower quality of life. Moreover, in the UK there were 115,000 jobs8 held by
full time employees, earning less than national minimum wage (£6.70 in October
2015)9. As a
result of the ‘Right to Buy’ policy these people will not be required to pay
taxes for their homes, leading local councils of these employees receiving less
money, via these taxations, on a frequent basis. Therefore in future dates the
funding for new homes in these area will be minimal resulting in lower quality
homes being constructed, which in my eyes is socially unsustainable. Despite
these unsustainable outcomes, as a result of the Right to Buy policy, the implantation
of the rule involving the greenbelt is a major factor in boosting the
environmental sustainability of the UK and its housing scheme. This is because
the policy ensures the preservation green spaces on the outskirts of UK cities.
Furthermore, reducing construction in these areas reduces the rates air
pollution, due to air polluting gases like Sulphur dioxide (SO2), Carbon
Monoxide (CO), or Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)10, which
is very sustainable from an environmental perspective. Overall these policies,
and many others, can be assumed to be the cause of the increase in UK house prices,
as well as the overall unsustainability of the UK’s housing scheme. Besides
policies the government predicted that the expenditure in this year would be a
total of £743 billion. Of this allotted amount only 3.77% of it is aimed
towards housing (£28 Billion)11. Despite
this value looking as an extremely high, this is only as small amount in comparison
to the rest of the budget. Although it is evident that the UK government had a
pivotal role in the UK’s unsustainable, and expensive housing scheme. The UK population
has also had some-what of an effect on these factors too. The average household
size in 2015 was 2 to 3 people per household12, this
is due to a fertility rate of 1.8 births13. So to
meet the growing demands of the population the UK needed to have constructed a
total of 200,000 homes a year. However the government had only managed to complete
a total of 169,000 by November. So evidently from a political standpoint, the
housing scheme at this moment in time was unsustainable, as the government
could not even meet a target that was detrimental for the country’s wellbeing,
that they themselves set.  















Figure 1: The graph shows the Number of families that have chosen to
move out of boroughs in London from years 2012 to 2016.


As you can see in figure 1

1 House
price UK index summary

 release date: 16
February 2016

Christopher Jenkins  https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/bulletins/housepriceindex/december2015

2 House
price index

release date: 14 February 2017

Rhys Lewis


3 House
price index

release date: 17 October 2017

Marion Shelly  


conversion table history 2015, release date: ? …………


5What is
the British pound to dollar rate today, release date: ?  …….


6 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/11534619/manifesto-policies-summary.html

Title: Conservative manifesto 2015
summary of key policies

Author:  Steven Swinford, Deputy
Political Editor

Release date: 8th may 2015

7 https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/bulletins/housepriceindex/2015-07-14

date: 14 July 2015

Title: House price index UK May

Author/contact: Christopher Jenkins

8 https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/bulletins/lowpay/april2015

Title: Low pay April 2015, Main points

Release Date: 18 November 2015

Source contact/author: Dave Bovill

9 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-national-minimum-wage-rates-announced

Title: From Thursday 1
October 2015, the adult rate of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) will rise by

Release date: 17 march 2015

Author: Department for Business, Innovation &
Skills, Low Pay Commission, and The Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable

10 https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/vehicles-air-pollution-and-human-health/cars-trucks-air-pollution#.WjOM4dJl_IU

Title: Cars, Trucks, and air pollution

Release date:


11 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/416330/47881_Budget_2015_Web_Accessible.pdf

Title: Budget 2015

Release date: 18 march 2015

Author: David Guake



Title: families and households 2015

Release date : 5 November 2015

Source contact/ Author: Emily Knipe


Title: Births in England and Wales 2015

Release date: 13 July 2016

Source contact/author: Elizabeth McLaren